An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A twentieth-century theological term that was used extensively by Rudolph Bultmann. He understood the word “myth” to be a way to communicate one's faith to others in a time- and culturally-dependent way. For example, in the NT, the writers used the language and specific terminology of their own time to communicate their faith. But it is difficult for us, in a different time and place, to comprehend the message which is presented. To demythologize, Bultmann argued, is to recognize the existential character of the faith and rephrase it in a contemporary form that will be easier for people of our day to comprehend. Some critics have argued that the term “demythologize” should be changed to “remythologize,” admitting that any interpretation today is just as limited and time-constrained as an interpretation from an earlier century in the history of the church.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.